The Trials and Blessings of a Church Elder

By MeLissa LeFleur

My husband recently became an elder at our church. When I heard he was being considered, I wanted to put my foot down and say, "No." You see, I grew up as a pastor's kid... well, not a bona fide PK, but more of the part-time variety. My dad was an interim pastor for many years and helped churches that had lost their pastors. Sometimes a pastor leaves a church because of illness, being called to another church, or retirement. Other times, it is a sign of the ill health of the church.

I remember how upset my dad was when he had to confront adultery between two members of his congregation. Or the time my mom tried to replace the Christmas lights on the church's tree, only to find out they were donated by someone's grandmother 40 years earlier. How dare she change something so sentimental! Or the times I saw my father agonize in prayer about how to handle difficult and hurtful situations in the church. Or the hours spent pouring over the financial reports, trying to find the money to pay the bills. Or the mowing and cleaning that often got dumped on our family.

Most of the time, there was no thanks, no appreciation for the intensely hard work, meetings, and agony. It was part of the job and it was messy.

I wanted to protect my husband from those situations — some really intense and some incredibly trivial.

Then I remembered the words in 1 Timothy: "If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task." Noble? Well, if it is so noble, why is it so taxing and often hurtful? I guess with honor comes more responsibility and having to deal with difficult situations in a noble way.

By discouraging my husband from this position, I was removing the blessing from him. Through this position, he can use his gifts to counsel the hurting, disciple the young, keep others accountable, use his years of biblical training, and make decisions that will help our church to grow — numerically and spiritually. Why was I holding that blessing out of his reach?

Then I remembered the blessings that also came during my parents' ministry. My family was used by God to mend families, give to the poor, pray over the sick, encourage the depressed, lead the faithless to deeper conviction, and most importantly, share the Gospel with hundreds of people who are now brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes that ministry came through weeding someone's garden or learning to eat goat at one of the church member's house after the service. Every single act of service was used by God to further the outreach and discipleship of those congregations.

I pray that my husband's ministry in our church will be full of blessings. I know the hard times will come, so I'll be there to support and pray for him. May his service be noble.

Image credit: dictay2000; Some rights reserved

TagsChristian-Life  |  Church-Issues  |  Personal-Life

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Published 1-14-14